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Date published: 11/1/2012
Death blew in on superstorm Sandy's wild winds and seawater torrents, claiming the elderly and children with capriciously toppling trees, taking tall-ship adventurers in mountainous Atlantic waves and average folks just trying to deal with a freakish snowstorm. It felled both heroes rushing into harm's way and, ironically, people simply following advice to play it safe at home.
At least 63 died as the shape-shifting hurricane and winter storm ravaged the eastern U.S., and searchers continued looking for victims Wednesday.
In New York City, a college student went out to take pictures in the borough of Queens and was electrocuted by a downed power line, while across town on Staten Island, an off-duty policeman drowned after moving his family to safety.
Lauren Abraham, who went by the nickname LolaDiva on YouTube, was a makeup artist who worked out of a studio in her parents' Queens home. The recent beauty school graduate was studying at City University of New York's Lehman College, according to her Facebook page. "In her time of reflection she learned to find the beauty in even the darkest situations," her online bio reads.
As the superstorm ravaged New York and floodwater surged into his Staten Island house Monday evening, off-duty NYPD officer Artur Kasprzak, 28, shepherded six adult relatives and a baby to the attic.
Then, according to police, Kasprzak, a six-year veteran of the force, told one of the women he was going to check the basement. When he didn't return, she called 911. Police came quickly with a scuba unit, but couldn't access the home because power lines had fallen into the water.
"He went to the basement. And the water just started washing in," his sister Marta told the Daily News. "He was pushed into a window. The water just kept coming in."
Bunting draped a firehouse in Easton, Conn., honoring another first responder who rushed to help. Lt. Russell Neary was killed when an enormous tree crashed down on his firetruck as he and others tried to clear storm debris.
Two people died when a tree fell on their vehicle in Morris County, N.J., and many others perished inside homes, where they thought they'd be safe--from North Salem, N.Y., where two boys, 11 and 13, were killed when a tree fell on their home, to Pasadena, Md.
Donald Cannata Sr., 73, was at home in Pasadena, a leafy suburb between Baltimore and Annapolis, when the storm knocked a large tree into his house. The retired civil engineer lived alone with his cat and dog and had stepped into the kitchen just when the tree fell.
His son, Donald Jr., said his father's death "shook me to the core," partly because they had talked about taking down the tree.
"We talked about it so many times. I said, 'Pop, the tree's getting pretty old,'" Cannata said.